Adams, Douglas – Hitchhiker’s Trilogy 4 – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. Chapter 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40
That night they stayed Outside the Asylum and watched TV from inside it.
“This is what I wanted you to see,” said Wonko the Sane when the news came around again, “an old colleague of mine. He’s over in your country running an investigation. Just watch.”
It was a press conference.
“I’m afraid I can’t comment on the name Rain God at this present time, and we are calling him an example of a Spontaneous Para- Causal Meteorological Phenomenon.”
“Can you tell us what that means?”
“I’m not altogether sure. Let’s be straight here. If we find something we can’t understand we like to call it something you can’t understand, or indeed pronounce. I mean if we just let you go around calling him a Rain God, then that suggests that you know something we don’t, and I’m afraid we couldn’t have that.
“No, first we have to call it something which says it’s ours, not yours, then we set about finding some way of proving it’s not what you said it is, but something we say it is.
“And if it turns out that you’re right, you’ll still be wrong, because we will simply call him a … er Supernormal …’ – not paranormal or supernatural because you think you know what those mean now, no, aSupernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer’. We’ll probably want to shove a Quasi’ in there somewhere to protect ourselves. Rain God! Huh, never heard such nonsense in my life. Admittedly, you wouldn’t catch me going on holiday with him. Thanks, that’ll be all for now, other than to sayHi!’ to Wonko if he’s watching.”
On the way home there was a woman sitting next to them on the plane who was looking at them rather oddly.
They talked quietly to themselves.
“I still have to know,” said Fenchurch, “and I strongly feel that you know something that you’re not telling me.”
Arthur sighed and took out a piece of paper.
“Do you have a pencil?” he said. She dug around and found one.
“What are you doing, sweetheart?” she said, after he had spent twenty minutes frowning, chewing the pencil, scribbling on the paper, crossing things out, scribbling again, chewing the pencil again and grunting irritably to himself.
“Trying to remember an address someone once gave me.”
“Your life would be an awful lot simpler,” she said, “if you bought yourself an address book.”
Finally he passed the paper to her.
“You look after it,” he said.
She looked at it. Among all the scratchings and crossings out were the words “Quentulus Quazgar Mountains. Sevorbeupstry. Planet of Preliumtarn. Sun-Zarss. Galactic Sector QQ7 Active J Gamma.”
“And what’s there?”
“Apparently,” said Arthur, “it’s God’s Final Message to His Creation.”
“That sounds a bit more like it,” said Fenchurch. “How do we get there?”
“You really …?”
“Yes,” said Fenchurch firmly, “I really want to know.”
Arthur looked out of the scratchy little perspex window at the open sky outside.
“Excuse me,” said the woman who had been looking at them rather oddly, suddenly, “I hope you don’t think I’m rude. I get so bored on these long flights, it’s nice to talk to somebody. My name’s Enid Kapelsen, I’m from Boston. Tell me, do you fly a lot?”
They went to Arthur’s house in the West Country, shoved a couple of towels and stuff in a bag, and then sat down to do what every Galactic hitch hiker ends up spending most of his time doing.
They waited for a flying saucer to come by.
“Friend of mine did this for fifteen years,” said Arthur one night as they sat forlornly watching the sky.
“Who was that?”
“Called Ford Prefect.”
He caught himself doing something he had never really expected to do again.
He wondered where Ford Prefect was.
By an extraordinary coincidence, the following day there were two reports in the paper, one concerning the most astonishing incidents with a flying saucer, and the other about a series of unseemly riots in pubs.